It’s extraordinary how many historic sites and special events in Delaware are the biggest, best, busiest or oldest ones of their kind in America and, in some cases, the world! A few of them are well-known while others are some of Delaware’s best kept secrets. But all are worth a trip to the First State to “Discover Delaware.” Here’s the eclectic list:
Winterthur (Wilmington) – The biggest collection of American furniture and accessories in the world.
The largest and most comprehensive collection of American fine and decorative arts in the world is on view at Winterthur, a 1,000-acre estate that is home to a 13-story mansion, 20,000 square feet of display galleries and hundreds of acres of public gardens.
Tall ship Kalmar Nyckel (Wilmington) – The largest colonial tall ship in world.
The Kalmar Nyckel is a full-scale replica of the original tall ship that brought the first permanent settlers to the Delaware Valley in 1638. The Christina Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington is its home port but the Kalmar Nyckel is Delaware’s international floating ambassador.
Marshall Steam Car Museum (Yorklyn) – The largest collection of operating steam cars in the world.
The Marshall Steam Car Museum at Auburn Heights Preserve is home to 13 fully-operational Stanley Steamers and one of only two steam-powered buses in America.
Air Mobility Command Museum (Dover) – The best and biggest collection miltary cargo and refueling aircraft in the world.
The Air Mobility Command Museum is a huge hit with kids, and a national and international destination for anyone interested in the history of flying machines.
August Quarterly (Wilmington) – The oldest continuously operating African American Festival in the United States
The celebration, held on the last weekend in August, includes stage performances, crafts, children’s events, fashion shows, storytelling, dramas, vendors of food, art, African Clothing, books, tee-shirts, as well as some of the best music on earth!
Return Day (Georgetown) – A unique festival held every two years in southern Delaware two days after election day, where candidates literally “bury the hatchet.”
Return Day is the biggest, best, and oldest event of its kind in America, because it’s the only event of its kind (and what a shame that is!). Delawareans from all over the state flock to the festival, which includes everything from a hatchet-throwing contest to an ox roast, to watch political candidates re-unite after hard-fought campaigns.
Barratt’s Chapel (Frederica) – The oldest surviving church building in the United States built by and for Methodists.
Barratt’s Chapel is the “Cradle of Methodism” and an officially designated Heritage Landmark of the United Methodist Church.
Johnson Victrola Museum (Dover) – The best collection of authentic victrolas in the United States.
The Johnson Victrola Museum is a tribute to Delaware’s native son, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, who founded the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901.
Woodland Ferry (Seaford) – The oldest continuously operating ferry in America.
The cable-driven ferry was established in the 1740s by James Cannon to cross the Nanticoke River. It is currently operated by DELDOT. Every year the Woodland Ferry Association celebrates the ferry with the Woodland Ferry Festival on the 2nd Sunday in September.
Chesapeake & Delaware Canal – The busiest shipping canal in the United States.
The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is the busiest canal in America and third busiest in the world, because it reduces the shipping distance between Baltimore and Philadelphia by almost 300 miles